Romans 12-15 The Practice of Salvation
Affects what I think about people I disagree with, cont’d. (14:1-15:13)
Romans 15:1-13-Paul takes a final step in instructing us how to deal with people we disagree with in matters concerning the practice of the faith. He continues his thought from chapter 14 and says that not only are we to not be a stumbling block to others...but we are to be willing to give of ourselves for their benefit. Not only are we to not be a stumbling block…we should be a building block. In other words, we are to recognize that some things cause our brothers to stumble...and for the sake of our brother we are to be willing to give up our own benefits and rights for their good. Paul shows how Jesus did this very thing in order to unite Jews and Gentiles into one body. He was a servant to the Jews and to the Gentiles. He writes, "Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God" (:7). Here is my ultimate model of how to deal with such matters…Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. In areas of practice that are non-essentials...I am to be willing to give up my rights and preferences for the good of my brother (who may have a different opinion). Notice he doesn’t say that we are to “put up” with such a person. But, we are to “accept” them (:7; confer 14:1)…to the very degree and extent that Christ accepted us.
Romans 15:14-19-Paul makes a very positive statement…that he believes that the people he is writing to have the spiritual maturity to make the decisions he has been speaking about. But, he also makes a bold assertion concerning his own authority. He tells them that they should give careful consideration to what he has said...because of his calling by God and because of the evidence of his calling as seen in the previous results of his ministry.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to discern between those things that are non-negotiables and those things that are personal preferences. Help me to know when to be willing to give up my rights for the rights of another brother who is weaker in his faith; to know when a brother is not necessarily weaker in his faith, but is just not being obedient in his faith and is demanding that his will be done; and, when to stand firm because it is not simply a matter of personal preference, but of spiritual principle, or Your specific leadership in a matter. These things can be hard to determine and I need Your help to do so...both in my life, and as a Pastor trying to lead Your flock. Help me Lord, to be a godly man, Christ-like in all that I do. Help me to live not by what I think I should be...but help me to live as the person You have said I am because of my faith in You.